Thinking Outside the Box
The Child Prodigy
What images does that word bring to your mind? Is the child a musician? Actor? Sport star? The word could describe any child who excels at a particular task. The world has always had child prodigies.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is perhaps the best well known prodigy. Mozart began playing the harpsichord when he was three years old. Two years later, he composed and published his first piece of music. He was tested by the lawyer and naturalist, Daines Barrington, when he was ten years old. The result? Barrington found that Wolfgang had a superior skill for sight reading. Wolfgang composed more than 600 pieces of music before his death at the age of 35.
Pablo Picasso and Blaise Pascal are two more well known historical figures who were child prodigies.
But what about today? Are there still child prodigies that walk among us? The answer is yes. Child prodigies will never end. While they are admired by society for their ingenuity and creativity at such a young age they are often overlooked when they become adults because they no longer surprise us with their depth of knowledge. Child prodigies can grow up to have meaningful lives if they are encouraged by their parents to actively pursue their creativity. The impact of parenting a child prodigy can either encourage or stifle their creative abilities.
Parents and educators who work with a child prodigy oftentimes can feel it is a challenge. These children are very curious about the world. They have their own ideas that may not agree with the rules of society. Yet, if encouraged and gently guided by the adults in their lives they can live a productive, meaningful life. If we allow them to contribute to the world they may just change it for the better.